The Schaack Lab was awarded a $407,535 NIH grant titled Tissue, Time, and Genotype: Investigating the Effects of Cellular Environment, Age, and Germline Mutation Rate on the Genome-Wide Rate and Spectrum of Somatic Mutation
Sarah Schaack explain what the lab will investigate using the grant monies:
Somatic mutations are the changes that occur in the DNA of multicellular organisms when cells replicate during growth and development, but which are not inherited. Our lab studies mutation rates, and for the last (almost) 10 years has studied the rates and spectra of germline (heritable) mutations. The goal of our new project is to investigate three major factors influencing somatic mutation rates: tissue type, developmental stage, and germline mutation rate (which we have previously shown differs greatly among genotypes, populations, and species). We hope to determine if somatic mutation rates a) vary among tissue types based on their rates of celldivision or production of DNA damaging particles, b) differ between young and old individuals, and if so to what degree, and c) correlate positively with germline (heritable) mutation rates, suggesting the two rates are governed by common or linked mechanisms. We use the Daphnia model system to perform our research. Estimates of somatic mutation rates are important, as they are the cause of many cancers and age-related disorders.